Story by SSgt Julio Olivencia Jr on 03/27/2019STEWART AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. (March 10, 2019) The 213th Engineering Installations Squadron had a banner year in 2018, averaging more than 100 days of active duty per Drill-Status Guardsman and sending Airmen across the country and the world.
Lt. Col. Eric Underhill, commander of the 213th couldn't be prouder of his unit.
"I'm actually in awe of the troops, because last year we averaged 141 days per DSG," Underhill said. "To take that much time away from their family is a testament to them and each year we are above 100 days active for our DSGs across the board."
Airmen assigned to the 213th deployed worldwide to support United States Air Forces Central Command, United States Army Central Command, United States Africa Command, and Pacific Air Forces in addition to multiple locations within the United States, including domestic operations involving counter drug operations and security assistance operations in New York City.
The Engineering Installations community is a tightknit one, with only one active-duty squadron and 15 in the Air National Guard.
These units travel far and wide installing a variety of communications infrastructure at different locations benefitting the United States' national defense strategic interest from fiber optic cable internet to satellite communications.
On average, these units save the taxpayers 65 percent when compared to Department of Defense contractors.
IRAQ, COMBINED JOINT TASK FORCE, ENGINEERING
Master Sgt. Robert Diaz and Master Sgt. Theodore Spiess deployed to Iraq and engineered 13 projects.
They saved the U.S. $125,000 by utilizing an existing duct system, increased network speed by 125 percent for more than 1,000 special operations and coalition troops, and instructed Marine Corps Special Operations Command and Army personnel on proper fiber optic cable standard installation.
IRAQ, COMBINED JOINT TASK FORCE, INSTALLATION
A 213th installations team, led by Tech. Sgt. Michael Harrigan and Tech. Sgt. Eric Planthaber, traveled across Iraq and Kuwait installing more than 50,000 feet of fiber optic cable, fixing old and unreliable infrastructure, and brought a hangar operated by Iraq's 15th Special Operations Squadron up to current safety standards.
AEF ROTATION 17
The 213th deployed 18 Airmen as part of a 44-Airmen Air Guard team tasked for Air Expeditionary Forces Rotation 17.
Airmen assigned to the 213th were vital in managing 69 pipeline projects, accomplishing 34 installation projects, and developing 31 technical solutions.
Logistics troop, Tech. Sgt. Victor Javier and vehicle mechanic Master Sgt. Donald Herr also contributed to missions well done.
Javier was part of a material control team that shipped over 30 containers of tools and materials valued over $1 million to Qatar for reconstituting in the E&I warehouse, and purchased $700,000 in mission essential tools and material.
Herr maintained 122 pieces of equipment even going as far as to fix a pick-up truck considered "beyond repair."
Three Airmen deployed to support Air Force Africa under a Request For Forces agreement.
The Airmen installed over 5,000 feet of trenching, 16,400 feet of conduit, 30 precast 7,500-pound concrete handholds, four 25,000-pound precast concrete manholes, and 12,000 feet of fiber optic cable in support of more than 500 warfighters all while dealing with extreme weather conditions and equipment shortages.
GIMHAE MEDICAL CONTIGENCY FACILITY, KOREA
The 213th provided Airmen to take part in one of the largest inside plant command, control, communications and computer installation projects in the Republic of Korea.
The project included the installation of 64 fiber optic connector terminations, more than 2,300 feet of fiber optic cable, more than 4,500 copper terminations, and more than 295,000 feet of copper cable.
The installation of the communication infrastructure will support the demand for bandwidth by a fully functional hospital consisting of 14 patient wards and 40 offices, laboratories and operating rooms covering an area of 280,000 square feet.
109TH AIRLIFT WING, STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, NY
A team lead by Master Sgt. Phillip Tropp assisted in reestablishing backup communications for three buildings on the base.
127TH WING, SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, MI
A team was dispatched to complete the first phase of a three-phase project to upgrade and enhance communication infrastructure that supports the base's airfield systems, including the air traffic control tower.
During phase 1, the team undertook 5,500 feet of machine trenching, 280 feet of hand trenching, as well as installed 15 three-foot hand holds, 1,400 feet of four-inch conduit and 15 grounding rods.
113TH WING, JOINT BASE ANDREWS, MD
A team lead my Senior Master Sgt. Brian Reynolds completed three Engineering Installation Assistance Requests (229s). Although 229s are typically small ancillary missions, these critical upgrades aided in the 113th's air defense capabilities in the National Capital Region.
The team conducted 25 preventative maintenance inspections of antennae, and installed 350 feet of copper cable which provided secondary communication bolstering the 113th's defense capabilities.
110TH ATTACK WING, BATTLE CREEK AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, MI
A team assisted with moving an Air and Space Communications Operations Squadron assigned to Battle Creek Air National Guard Base, Michigan to a different building.
The seven-Airmen team installed more than 4,800 feet of fiber optic cable and more than 3,900 feet of copper cable, serving 36 user locations inside the facility.
106TH RESCUE WING, NY
A team led by Tech. Sgt. Robert Marin upgraded the bases localizer system to create more robust and reliable flight instrumentation operability.
The team completed 40 feet of trenching, the installation of four-inch conduit, and the installation of more than 3,000 feet of fiber optic cable, upgrading the system from copper cabling.
AND MORE TO COME
The unit continues to send Airmen out the door and assist the nation and state wherever they are needed.
"It's just amazing to me how they can keep going out the door and keep doing what they're doing," Underhill said.